IFAD’s success in Vienna at the 5th Global South-South Development Expo

by Nicolo Berghinz

“This is just the beginning”: this is the recurrent expression from IFAD members and IFAD-supported participants at the end of a very productive week in terms of partnering, networking and opening new spaces, opportunities and paths aiming at concretely, effectively and efficiently scaling up the best south-south and triangular cooperation practices.

19-23 November hasn’t been a week like many others. It has been a special week. At the Expo, IFAD was represented by the Strategic Planning Division (Mr Gary Howe, Mr Cheikh Sourang, Mr Edward Heinemann, Mr Nicolo’ Berghinz, Ms Maria Luisa Saponaro), by the Asia Division (Mr Benoit Thierry), by the Policy and Technical Advisory Division (Mr Karan Sehgal) and by the Communication Division (Mrs Sophie De Vos).

Moreover, we sponsored the participation of several IFAD-related projects, programmes and activities. Among them, representatives from PROCASUR, from the Guangxi Integrated Agriculture Development Project (Mr Weichao Chen - GIADP – eco-farming biogas development), from a Kenyan portable biogas initiative (Mr Dominic Wanjihia); other relevant and possible future partners have also been invited, like Mr Hafeez Rehman From TERI (The Energy Resources Institute).

IFAD’s relevant contribution began right during day-1, during the High-level opening ceremony, the Leadership roundtable and the launch of major initiatives and partnerships; in particular, that contribution appeared during the Leadership roundtable, where IFAD offered its “knowledge” on the scaling up topic, asked ‘hard questions’ to the audience and opened a constructive and useful reflection/discussion among participants.

IFAD actively participated during the various sessions and, above all, co-led and co-sponsored (with FAO and UNIDO) Solution Forum 4 on “Energy, climate change and food security” during the third day. Several planning and debriefing meetings in preparation for -and as follow up to- this Forum (and other relevant events) have been organized. The Forum has been structured with 3 successive panels, with a total of 15 participants. The discussion has been extremely rich, dynamic and interactive, with many contributions and questions from the floor. The main focus was on how to scale up successful south-south and triangular cooperation positive experiences. The 3 moderators were:

  • Mr Cheikh Sourang (IFAD) 
  • Ms Hana Mitri Shahin (Executive Director, King Hussein Foundation)
  • H.E. Xia Jingyuan, permanent representative of China to IFAD, FAO and WFP. 
Among other participants, Mr Ye Anping (China, MoA), Mr Mpoko Bokanga (UNIDO), Mr Asai Makoto (JICA) and Mr Edward Heinemann (IFAD).

IFAD organized also 3 exhibition-stands where IFAD engagement in SSTC, as well as its best supported practices, have been showcased to the audience, estimated in more than 1,000 global SSTC practitioners (UN agencies, governments, field projects and programmes, NGOs, private sector,etc.). Several side-events meetings (bilateral and multilateral) have been organized and have given concrete fruits.

The Expo hasn’t just been an Expo. The meetings haven’t just been meetings. IFAD, through its proactive participation, opened new paths for its scaling up engagements through the SSTC tool. New basis for SSTC activities have been built (e.g. cooperation in China and with China), and a strong commitment on following-up the Expo (especially with Forum 4 partners and UNDP) outputs and outcomes has been taken. This is just the beginning.

IFAD has also been protagonist, during the fourth day, of the High-Level Meeting on “Innovative approaches towards effective development”.

IFAD’ s contribution to the Expo has been constantly recognized during the week, and this is something that we must be proud of. It is not a case if for next year’s  Expo, as well as for the forthcoming 1st Regional Arab Expo (May-June 2013), UNDP global organizers have explicitly requested for IFAD – during a bilateral side-event - an even more important and crucial role in the organizational phase, directly guiding the strategic content and the inputs of the event (e.g. co-sponsorship of the Arab Expo, co-leadership through participation in the Expo Board of Directors, participation in all meetings, fora, events and side-events through several IFAD representatives, etc.). IFAD welcomed the invitation and the kind request, and will soon have further talks with UNOSSC (in particular with its Cairo regional office) after in-house consultations with involved divisions and colleagues.

For more information/documentation, please contact us (Mr Sourang, Mr Berghinz, Ms Saponaro) or visit the Expo website  or the newly established IFAD webpage on South-South and Triangular Cooperation

And remember…this is just the beginning.